Sad Puppies, Gate Keeping, And We DID Build this

I shouldn’t be writing this right now.  I had planned on doing a blast from the past.  I am on deadline, trying not to wreck my publisher’s schedule because my idiotic body decided it was a good idea to collapse in the shower over a month ago and precipitate me into a fun happy time of doctors and tests.

The next test up involves drawing spinal fluid, which MIGHT give me a two week headache.  Which means two overdue books and one that’s not overdue but is due need to be done by the time of the test.  I’ve found interrupting books in the middle makes them almost impossible to finish, so now that we’re done with moves I’d like not to interrupt books.

Which is another reason I shouldn’t be writing this: I’m in the very final part of the book, the time when everything falls in place and comes tumbling down.  I call it “the ahah moment”and anything like, you know, writing a chunk of non-fiction in the morning runs the risk of killing the mood. Sure, I can finish it with paint by the numbers, but it will take longer and not be as good.  When painting by the numbers you miss little things.  Most of all you miss opportunities, as the moment when everything comes together in your mind never happens.  NO, it’s not a perfect method, but it’s the one I have.

So why am I doing this?

Yesterday when I woke up I decided I wasn’t going to go to Facebook.  But I had an email telling me I’d missed a link at instapundit.  (It’s something Vivaldi seems to do.  I put the link in and when I press schedule, it loses it.  I normally notice, but the display was being funky, so I missed three links in one night, which is a record even for me.)

One of the links I missed came from a secret group on Facebook.  I belong to about a dozen of them, and it’s none of your business.  Most of them are science or neat geek stuff.  A few are politics.  This link was at that edge, that it could have been in any of the groups.  So I went looking.  And in one of my normal hangouts I found someone had echoed his post, which was something like “It’s time to make a list for Sad Puppies 5”.

I don’t know how much of this is intentional, and how much was just the poster being stupid, in the sense that his blog posts are normally so scattered you have to read tea leaves to find out what he’s saying.  I have to assume he didn’t know the impression he was giving, or else he doesn’t know me very well, after being with me in various places on line for several years.

On the other hand, this same person had approached me, multiple times by proxy and in person, being very ah, delicate, I’m sure he thought, and asking me if I wanted to share the burden of Sad Puppies, or perhaps off load it completely to him. The fact he even thought this was appropriate as well as his tendency to blog posts his own mother couldn’t interpret is the reason he would be the very worst person for it.

I don’t talk about it, normally, but I berserk.  Berserking is fine, if I’m in a place I can break things and not kill anyone.  This is not often the case.  Most of the time I know I’m about to berserk because the immediate “you can’t do this here” kicks in.  Berserking isn’t an awesome gift, unless you live in the sort of primitive violent society where it serves to make people afraid to attack you.  It might have been useful once or twice in the late seventies when chappies with machine guns thought they owned the world I lived in.  Most of the time it’s an infernal nuisance, and you learn really early to control it before you find yourself holding a desk over the teacher who was mocking you crying and shaking.

Crying and shaking is the result of trying to control it.  And it feels like hell.  So usually I deal with my own emotions in such a way whatever the hell trigger that activates “berserker” doesn’t get pushed.

When I saw that post I went from zero to berserker in no time flat, and while shaking and crying, penned the most scathing answer I’ve ever even anyone.  The core of it, which I’ll expound on later is: Leading Sad Puppies won’t help your career.  (It might not hurt it, either, but it won’t help it.)

But then an amazing thing happened.  Yeah, you won’t believe this amazing thing that happened.

Which is why I’m writing this.

Even before I got to that post, and later in the other post that made me almost berserk again (I don’t think I’ve done this twice in one day since my teens) a friend had commented on how he gave the wrong impression and he should stop it already.  Later on there were also posts on a bizarre theme, one of which (the comments) is what caused the second berserk attack.

The theme was like this: Sad Puppies said they were against gate keepers, but now they’re trying to be gatekeepers.

There are so many missteps in that statement it’s hard to unpack.  First of all, no, Sad Puppies wasn’t against gatekeepers.  Sad Puppies was against the secret maneuvering that went on behind the awards.  (BTW it was never really a secret. When I was coming in, my mentors told me it was all log rolling and I had to roll the logs.)  And which people denied until they stopped denying it, in favor of shrieking at us to get off their lawns, and making up horrible lies about us.  (Unless, of course, you believe I’m a Mormon male.)

Second, in what way were we trying to be gatekeepers when we told an unauthorized person to stop pretending he was leading SP 5?

We were as much gatekeepers as, say, Baen would be when it told you you couldn’t call your indie publisher Baen Books For Real.  It might or might not violate a trademark (fairly sure it would) but more than that it’s false advertising and it violates the right of people to what they have built.

Sad Puppies was started by Larry, true, and he lent it much of its gravity, but he proved what he wanted to prove with SP2: that is, that it had become a log-rolling award.  (I’m still astonished that most people apparently didn’t know that.)

I was supposed to pick it up next, but I was ill and Brad did.  All the same, I dragged myself from bed, after surgery, because I and Kate and Amanda had been in it as much as Brad after SP1, and we could help defend the guys.  SP ate most of 2015 for me, the part that wasn’t devoted to scraping floors and painting walls.  (And keep in mind that “this won’t help your career.”  It really won’t.)

It still ate some of 2016, event though Kate took it, because I’m far more interesting to attack and attempt to discredit.  And 2016 was the year of four moves and one international trip.

To the extent that SP is a recognizable thing beyond the fake news of us being racist, sexist and homophobic, it is so because of my work.  And Amanda’s, and Kate’s.

For someone to say “I’m making the SP5 list” who has had no contact with us beyond writing pseudo-supportive fiction in which he willfully confused Sad and Rabid Puppies is …. astonishing.

And it is more astonishing that a vast number of libertarians apparently believe property rights don’t apply to a movement you helped start, and that it’s censorship when we try to say some Johnny come lately can’t just pretend he’s the leader this year and make it stick.

Seriously.  You believe that everything non tangible is free for the taking?  Go for it.  Let other people put their names on your books and sell them!  Have the courage of your convictions.

While I’m a big supporter of indie and of bypassing gatekeepers, I don’t think I’ve ever said you should have the right to pretend you’re Baen or Tor, or Bantam.

Sure, you don’t need to go through them.  Do your own thing.

This problem would never even have arisen if this eager beaver had called his post “My list for the Hugos.”  (For one, SP is moving away from the Hugos — which is why it’s not a federal emergency that I haven’t the site up yet, but I should have something up by Saturday — and yeah, you can disagree with that approach and want to focus on the Hugos like a laser.  Why you’d want to do that when they’re writing the vote-rigging into the bylaws and have abundantly proved no one not of the clique is welcome is beyond me, but hey, I’m not the boss of you.  You want to continue focusing on the Hugos, you start your own movement.  It’s a free country.  Everyone who has ever run the SP (except Larry whose only answer is “I’m retired”) agrees with the broadening and “unfocusing from the Hugos” view.  BTW, even if you want the Hugos, what I plan to do which a monthly recommendation list, will allow you to warm up for 2018 early on.)  Or he could have called “Neat books I think you should nominate for awards.”

Of course no one cares what he nominates or not, or what he likes or not.  I think you can count his following without having to remove his shoes, which is why it was so important for him to appropriate a name that he thinks gives him gravitas.

And that he’s not allowed to do.  Saying “you can’t take what’s mine, and I helped build” is not gatekeeping.  It is, last I checked, anti-communism.  And if you say — the other side does — that’s what we were trying to do in going for the Hugos: fair enough, except that it wasn’t supposed to belong to any clique.  It was supposed to be the best in SF chosen by ALL the fans.  Now it’s clear it’s the award of a clique, we don’t care about it, and they can keep it with our blessing.

But at the same time we’re going to use what remains of the SP movement to create more word of mouth for good books (including indies, because those tend to have more trouble finding an audience.)  And we’re going to give you material to nominate and vote for the awards you care about.  So they don’t go the way of the Hugo through sheer apathy.

And now if you excuse me, I’m 20k words behind where I should be with this book, and I’m tired of defending what I built from idiots, but let me add that I’m sure this doomed little sycophant thought that if he could only seize leadership of SP he’d become as big as Larry.  Why, we couldn’t ignore him.

Yes, we could.  Larry was Larry before the Puppies.  The reason he’s retired is because the leading of the Puppies (twice) cost him hours he could have devoted to his work.  He could weather that, because it just slowed him a little.  Brad and I, though, have paid for this with a serious slow down in our career.  So has Kate, who is only now writing again.  And in this field, as Brad said in his last post, indie or trad, the best measure of how well you’ll do is how much you write.

Years ago, when I was breaking in, my mentors told me not to run for SFWA presidency, ever.  Because unless you’re one of the darlings who can make it on one book a year, you’re going to regret it.  It will eat your life.  And if it happens at a certain time it might stop your writing long enough to kill your career.

I’ve found that the Puppies is the same thing.  I’m doing it only because I’ve figured out a way to more or less automate it; because I’ll have a lot of support; and because I owe it to the two that took the bullet for me these last two years.

It is not a picnic, though, it is not a publicity coup, and in the end it hurts your writing, which hurts your career.

And what matters at the bottom is your writing.  If your writing isn’t selling, leading the Puppies won’t fix it.  It will in fact make you enemies in the field, including people who want to ingratiate themselves with the gatekeepers and the elites.  I’m fairly sure a stupid hit to my career I suffered last year was a consequence of vocally supporting Larry and Brad.

I’m taking this movement in for a landing and somewhere useful, into a resource that will help fans of the work — not of cons and the right circuits — know what other people are enjoying.  This will hopefully in the future be helpful for the genre and make it healthier, which will distantly benefit me.

But in the short term there is no benefit.  Only trying to do three things at once, and having idiots nip at my heels for being a “gatekeeper.”

Now I’m going to go finish my d*mn book.  Because that’s what matters.


94 thoughts on “Sad Puppies, Gate Keeping, And We DID Build this

  1. *quietly leaves tea and a sweet treat of your preference* (sweet treat being an internet phantom it cannot trigger biological responses.)

  2. So, if this blogger had simply said “Books the Sad Puppies should consider”, or called his list “The Plaintive Ponies” or something like that, this whole thing could have been avoided? Anything that didn’t imply that he was speaking for you?

    I’m just as glad I only saw part of this mess (and that only because I went looking after yesterday’s MGC.

    1. The title of the page was “Sad Puppy 5 *Suggestions*”. Does that really suggest an official list? I’m not trying to be nasty. I’m really just asking.

      1. It does when there is nothing up front saying “I am doing this for me” or when the post is written in such a way that a lot of folks couldn’t tell if he was compiling his own list of titles or asking others to help compile a list or if he was even going to then figure out a way to get the list over to the official Sad Puppy compilation site. And I’m not trying to be nasty or confrontational. The post was poorly written if he was simply trying to start his own personal list of titles he was going to consider for personal nomination. This is especially true when you think about the fact that the Sad Puppy lists for the last forever have been a list of “suggestions” (to use your own word), especially leading up to nomination time.

      2. The title of the page was “Sad Puppy 5 *Suggestions*”. Does that really suggest an official list? I’m not trying to be nasty. I’m really just asking.

        Failing to be crystal clear that he in no way represents or is officially connected with Sad Puppies in any way makes it arrogant presumption on his part, as well as an apparent attempt to link himself to SP in readers’ minds through the power of suggestion. “Well, he made a suggestion list, he must have some idea what he’s talking about.”

        That’s the mark of a manipulator, somebody who lives and dies by impression management.

      3. Fontofworlds, I’m with you. I saw the post when it first went up. I thought at the time that it was clearly meant to be suggestions.

  3. I do not know and have never met any of this “vast number of libertarians”. Must be off meeting with the vast number of Christians who “hate gay people”.

              1. Sarah, true story: I was on an Amsterdam tour arranged thru the base travel office at Spangdahlem. Part of the lecture they gave the bus was not to even go into any of the “coffee houses” because you could pick up enough of a dose to show up on a drug test. Judging by what I could smell from the street, this was a reasonable fear.

    1. When given the chance to verbalize their beliefs a great many who self identify as independent lean very strongly towards libertarian. They’re just put off by the radical Libertarian fringe.

  4. *Leaves a kitten and coffee at the door and backs away slowly.*
    Meow. Hope you feel better soon. And you’ve inspired me to do an IP post 🙂
    I can’t begin to say the amount of stupid I’ve seen online when people start talking IP rights.

  5. If you have a headache after drawing spinal fluid, ask for a blood patch. Know two people who have suffered the headaches on several occasions, and each time a blood patch stopped it.

  6. It might be helpful going forward to set out guidelines for what one can do, cannot do, and should not do under the Sad Puppies banner.

    After two posts, I can still only speculate at what happened, how exactly the Sad Puppies brand was violated, because the specific event is only alluded and not pointed to.

    I know several cats who’ve been doing some really good work under the Sad Puppy banner, something that started in part because of the sense of democratization – “we are all puppies”- that was built up two years ago, who have the monickers on their twitter handles and in their blogs. If they or anyone else are risking falling afoul of Mad Genius Club and Official Sad Puppies, there needs to be solid guidelines and clear boundaries set.

    A commenter on the previous post suggested trademarking Sad Puppies. That’s definitely a way to go, though it’s not the only option, nor may it be the best option depending on your goals, but this is clearly something that will need to be dealt with sooner than later.

    1. The point is that anyone can say he is a Sad Puppy or working on helping Sad Puppies. But nobody can say he is running Sad Puppies, unless the job was handed off to him.

      Same thing with any movement.

      1. Yep. Exactly.
        As to why we aren’t linking, TRUST me, we don’t want the all out drag out fight. You know what happened, he purported to be collecting a list for SP5. NOT for himself in SP 5, but THE list for SP5.
        The only thing that sounded like he might not be running was “I don’t yet know what will happen” which could mean “I haven’t decided yet.”

        1. Say? as in STATE IT no. But the post gave that impression from the title on. If he’d said “I’m gathering my puppies recommendation list” no one would have given a BFRA. But he sounded like “I’m gathering the list” down to the SP5. And when told how it could be interpreted, the answer was not “I’ll change the wording” it was “CENSORSHIP.”
          I think you’re just being a barracks lawyer, in which case you’re going to come back and say “he had to state it.”
          I’m going to tell you right now this was the culmination of asking me directly and through proxies to give him the leadership.
          So, PFUI.

          1. No, I’m not going to say “he had to state it”, but I do think that pointing out specifically who had done something instead of vague allusions would make it easier to know what you guys are talking about.

            I haven’t followed every little bit of internecine drama here at MGC, so I’m still not 100% certain who or what these last two posts have been about.

              1. Yeah. Yesterday, I had no idea, this morning I was thinking that may have been the case, and by this afternoon, I’m fairly sure as well.

                I think a lot of this could’ve been nipped in the bud if someone had just come out and said “_____ done goofed – here’s how; don’t do what he did. If you’re thinking about doing X, Y or Z, please don’t, and do U, V, or W instead.”

                1. Cirsova –
                  well I won’t second guess our hosts but Finn seems to want to heat things up not calm them down. He’s got a big all-caps addition to his blog post saying “I’M NOT IN CHARGE OF SP5. THE FOLLOWING IS, IN PART, A GUIDE FOR MY RECOLLECTION, SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO WILL BE VOTING, AND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR OTHER PEOPLE TO GUIDE MY VOTING. APPARENTLY, SOME PEOPLE ARE TOO STUPID TO HAVE FIGURED THIS OUT FROM THE BELOW. THAT IS ALL.”

                  1. I’m under the impression that he added that when he thought that File770ers were assuming he was acting on behalf of the Puppies.

                    Even without that, it takes a leap for someone to think that he was claiming to be making the official list rather than openly discussing things he or other people would be recommending. Even after seeing that post, I’d thought Amanda was talking about someone/something else.

                    1. Cirsova, I saw that but then I had a quick peek at 77whatsit. Their story is from after he posted that so I don’t know what he’s talking about. Maybe he wanted to make the point at our hosts but was afraid to go head-on. I would be!
                      Even if he didn’t deliberately aim it at Amanda he’s still saying anyone who thinks what she thought in her post is stupid, which isn’t … nice (keeping it PG!)

                    2. He said he’d gotten some emails from F770 regulars over his post and hadn’t heard about Amanda’s until later. As someone who knows firsthand how hard it is to follow blogs cross-platform, it’s not beyond belief that one might not have seen it

                  2. Those caps were for the File 770 guys who were heckling him by email…not for the MGC crowd. They went up before he heard about the posts here.

                    1. This is the part that fascinates me — “heckling” him in private email. Did that really happen? Aren’t we used to hecklers leaving public comments? Because hecklers want attention just like everyone else on the internet.

                    2. Mike, we don’t agree on much, but that AND the claim you’re not you, are both ASTOUNDING. Considering other claims he made, including telling ME he hadn’t contacted me (really? What about my lying eyes) this is rapidly approaching farce.

                    3. Those caps were for the File 770 guys who were heckling him by email…not for the MGC crowd.

                      I’m sorry, but the idea that anybody from File770 would be in private contact with him fails to pass the “this smells like a fertilizer factory next to a dairy farm” test. Those are the same shrieking ninnies who block people on social media for failure to conform with the party line in the slightest degree.

                      What actually happened is that he got spanked hard for his attempt to appear important, and then for his attempt to deny that’s what he was doing. The File 770 thing is a pure, transparent, not very bright attempt at face-saving.

                      They went up before he heard about the posts here.

                      Even if that is true, I know for a fact that it went up after the spanking I mentioned, which happened in social media, since I was watching it happen.

                      Somebody has a hard time admitting he’s wrong, owning his mistake, and apologizing.

                    4. Sorry, don’t buy it. He had been active in a thread in a closed group on FB — and later on a wall where the comments were public — where his post was being discussed. He may have assumed it was Glyer’s blog, but that was only because he wasn’t reading everything said before reacting and commenting. Also, from experience, most of those who follow File 770 do NOT send PMs and emails. They comment either on File 770 or on the “offending” blog. Why? Because it is the one way they — and anyone who thinks about it — know their point of view and message is getting out.

                    5. Mr. Glyer, you ask a good question.

                      Sadly, heckling by email is definitely a thing. As to whether it happened, I obviously have no idea and so will not comment on it any more.

                      Mr. Fleming, people from File 770 do occasionally contact people in private. However, my personal experience with such contacts have all been pleasant.

                      Sorry, all this happened, Sarah. I’ll get back to writing and leave you to yours! 😉

            1. Yet somehow you feel quite free to jump in and comment anyway.
              While somewhat guilty of that myself, I usually at least try to get the full story before questioning the actions of others.

              1. This is so stupid I can’t even.

                I’m pretty much saying ‘people need the full story’. Obviously they want questions & comments if they’re gonna have two posts on it.

            2. I saw the original post in question before all of this started up.

              I know darn well who is running SP5 and I *still* thought it was heavily implying he was running it. I had to do a double take. Anyone not observing things closely would have had a harder time telling.

              As for the heating up/cooling down thing, honestly, I think things do need to calm down.

              The Hugos are blatantly and obviously only an award for the small clique that considers itself the rightful heirs of WC. Fine, if that is what it is, that is what it is.

              A couple years back I took them at their word that it was meant to be the best overall and was open to all. Now that it is clear it isn’t I’ll leave them to it – and spend my money elsewhere.

              In a few years when the graying of the fen becomes the whitening then burying they likely will regret driving away the newbies who were trying to join in *with* them, but that is no longer my concern.

              SP as a recommendation list free of focus to any particular awards it the better path. Awards don’t matter. Finding books to enjoy? That does.

              1. I will have a space (come on programmers!) for what awards the novel is eligible for and a permanent page of awards in SF/F and mystery and requirements (added to as people tell me, because I honestly don’t care. I usually find my books by word of mouth or poking around on Amazon anymore.)
                And you hit on the main reason I’m NOT asking anyone to focus on the Hugo. You have to pay. SP3? They took our money, threw themselves a great party and talked about how much better than us they are. At least the mean girls in school never required me to buy their lipstick. No, just no.

                As for the rather bizarre post, yeah. The “I’m going to run it” came through loud and clear. Apparently other people who’ve been hiding behind the SP really need a shield and thought the poor patsy would make a good one. We’ll just say that. The indications are in the people defending him. And in the fact instead of apologizing as people do, for an honest mistake, he doubled down and is now sharing the amiable theory I’ve gone crazy: from brain issues that judging from where they are can only affect my vision and my heart rate .
                It’s amazing, as I said. BUT I have a book to finish and two more books overdue after that. I’ll get the site up this weekend, though refinements (come on programmers) might not be in for a while. It will have a mission statement and hopefully a place to add recommends. There will be art in a month or so (Come on, artists.)

                This is my first and last post on it. Frankly I don’t care that much. I just wanted to clarify why we were doing it, and that it wasn’t remotely censorship or gatekeeping.

                Someone wants to start Bouncing Beavers, Gafiated Gnus, Circadian Camels or Insulted Emus and focus like a laser on the Hugos, they’re welcome to it. They’re also welcome to put up posts on “this is my list for the Hugos.” I don’t see how they could not be, since it’s been done for decades.

                They just can’t — ethically — use Sad Puppies, and everyone should be very suspicious of people who have never been part of the inner core of the movement doing so.

                Yes, I know tons of people, even well-intentioned ones think we should just keep fighting for the Hugo. That’s GREAT. Maybe THEY can start their own movement and do so. Everyone needs a hobby. The only reason we even did that for SP3 is that Brad is an idealist. When we saw how that went… no, just no. That’s why Kate’s focus was different, and mine is different still.

                Fortunately there are a lot of people for whose opinion I’ve never given a good goddamn and if they want to whisper I’m mad, maaaaaaaad, that’s fine with me, other than making me giggle. (Seriously. I’ve snorted coffee twice yesterday, and it’s becoming a family joke.)

                And now I go write.

                1. “This is my first and last post on it. Frankly I don’t care that much.”

                  Folks, Sarah doesn’t need this, but I promise you this buttmunch isn’t done, and unless someone calls him out on it every time he does it, too many uninvolved are going to follow “silence implies consent”. Every time he opens his sphincter, a link back to this post needs to follow with a reminder that he’s NOT SP4. It’s called “defending the trademark”, and unfortunately, in the era of professional trolls, it’s necessary.

  7. “Unless, of course, you believe I’m a Mormon male.”

    Hmmm . . . You’re a lot shorter; you don’t have a beard; you have a Portuguese accent; and you have boobs. Apart from that, the resemblance to Larry Correia is striking!


    1. The subtext being that both “Mormon” and “male” are insults.

      Must be nice when your sales are so good you can dismiss half the human race as potential customers…

      1. The running joke during SP4 was that the puppy kickers were accusing the leaders of being white male Mormon misogynistic neo-nazis. Given that three of the leading lights that year were Kate, Sarah, and Amanda they started referring to themselves as the Mormon males with great racks.
        Sad Puppies never dismissed anyone for anything other than trying to cook the books to represent poorly written message fiction as the best and the brightest to be found.

    2. This is a bit insider baseball for most of you – but I find it really, really funny that beards are finally coming back in as generally acceptable within the Mormon culture. (*Culture* the doctrine is a separate thing)

      ‘Course, I saw this as a bearded Mormon male, with a wife that has promised to veto any call to shave it I get from leaders. (The Bishop and people in some of the other leadership positions are still encouraged to be clean shaven.) Either way I see a *ton* more beards at church each week.

      1. (I suppose I should specify. Beards used to be much more common, even in the highest levels of leadership. Then the hippies happened and beards were discarded as not being conservative enough.

        If they were numerous enough/annoying enough I suppose we could see the same reaction against man buns in a decade or so. Unlikely, given now niche it is compared to the hippy culture.)

      2. I have known men who have deliberately worn beards/long hair in an effort to avoid being called to the bishopric/stake presidency.

        It doesn’t always work. In fact, the last one who tried it is now going on year five of being bishop. (He did shave his beard, but he’s started growing it again because he wants to be released NOW please.)

  8. > It was supposed to be the best in SF chosen by ALL the fans.

    All the fans who attended a minor con, *and* could be arsed to vote. That is, the few thousand *important* fans, as opposed to the formless millions of rabble who liked and bought other, non-approved books.

    Worldcon talks big, but they don’t speak for me. By the numbers, they barely speak for themselves.

    1. And therein lies the crux of the problem. Their claim for so long that Worldcon and the Hugos represented the best of the best in all of SF&F.
      That was proved demonstrably false at that abortion of an awards ceremony in 2015.
      Were it not for certain folks misplaced desire to co-opt Sad Puppies for their own aggrandizement it would have been better to let it slide quietly into retirement, form some other new mechanism to identify the year’s best in the field completely disassociated from the Hugo awards. Since independent actions prohibit that, SP5 is what we have to work with.
      But it is no longer directed at the Hugos, but at the field in general and has an associated award to track by, the Dragons.
      The Hugo elite clique proved quite decisively that they would run things their way or by Ghod they would burn the house down to kill the vermin infestation. So be it. I hope they wallow comfortably in the ashes they created. Have to admit that a wooden asterisk does flame up nicely though it makes for really bitter ash.
      The Dragon awards apparently have not as yet been conscripted by such elites, long may that be the case.

  9. If it wouldn’t be so confusing – and it’s too late now, anyway – it would be fun to spin off SP with a false flag operation drawing a list of SJW darlings for the Hugos. This would give the unnamed individual something to play, makes SJW heads go all explody, and lets everyone else goes about the real work. Of course, it wouldn’t do to tell the individual what was really going on.

  10. Sarah, I think you may be working too hard at this.

    Given the drama in your own house, and number of twinkies who seem to want to claim they are the One True Leader of the Sad Puppies, and given the number of talented people who hang out here and at your blog, you should consider -delegating-.

    Hand out tasks you don’t have time for, such as the entire SP5 website and etc. Do it privately, of course. Appoint a minion to write a blurb for it, appoint a designer minion, appoint a day-to-day site manager minion, and let the thing run on its own. The idea is to make the CHORFs work, not to make -you- work.

    (I am not volunteering. My Web-Fu is strictly white belt, I’m a cranky SOB who doesn’t play well with the other kids. If you need -my- help, it’ll take more than me to dig you out.)

    But, if I was sick, and had deadlines, I’d delegate the hell out of this thing. We’re not saving the damn world here. We’re pissing off a bunch of ancient, scooter riding hippies, brain-damaged moonbats and pink-haired hippopotami. It’s not that important.

    1. Obviously not Sarah but I can assure you she has done some delegation. But, as you said, she has done it privately. It isn’t something anyone but she and those closest involved need to know about.

      1. I hasten to assure you I’m not trying to stick my oar in. I do not want to know, it is none of my beezwax.
        I was concerned she might be going all Super Sarah and trying to power through. One does not power through such things, one takes it easy and is mindful not to tempt the Complications demon. I am relieved she is not doing it herself.

        All we need to do is let the CHORFs punch themselves in the face again this year. The mere existence of SP5 is more than sufficient. I understand they are off to a great start at Vile666, Big G is getting the Five Minute Hate thing whipped up as usual.

        Nice of him to do all the work, eh? ~:)

        1. Doesn’t take much to get them whipped up. Just say “Puppies” and they start foaming. It’s rather . . .Pavlovian.

          1. That’s been my point all along. Say “Puppy” and they go ape-doody. All we need to do is show up and stand there, grinning. Don’t even need a sign.

            I find it hilarious that when Real Puppies show up at Worldcon none of these snowflakes ever says a word in person. I used to think it would be unsafe for a Conservative type to attend,( but now I understand the SJWs and Vilers lack any sort of personal courage whatsoever.

            Big G is all over this thread, just stirring up things and combing the comments for juicy scandal. Must be hard finding new red meat for those moonbats every day.

            The joke is he thinks he’s making -us- look bad.

  11. Iam considering generating a list that would be useful next year. It would be a list of all SF novels (over 100,000 words; that’s my definition) on Smashwords (they have a sorter that makes this practical). It’s not complete, but it would point people at Indie SF novels they might like. Would anyone have a place to send it?

    1. WordPress and Google Blogspot are free. Why not whip up a blog and post it yourself? It would be a useful resource.

    2. Why, yes, I do know a place that would host your list. Get in touch if that works for you.

  12. I am totally on the outside here, and as such am not an expert, don’t hold any weight, but as a totally outside opinion of what I’ve seen, someone got excited for SP5, got a little trigger happy because of that and just posted his opinions on what he thought were 2016’s best works. I don’t think there’s any need to read beyond that.

    Again, no expert, just a humble opinion.

    1. Um… if there weren’t a track record of telling me “My dear, let me take that off your back” it’s believable, and if he hadn’t reacted with accusations to our telling him to clarify.

  13. No, it isn’t “gatekeeping” to form a club for a specific purpose and to control membership in that club.

    If someone wants to create another club for that same purpose, they are free to do so.

    There is a particular group of people who have created “Sad Puppies” and it has a particular brand identity. If someone posts asking for suggestions for a “Sad Puppy List” then there is the implication that person is a part of your club.

    If they claim that was not their intention, then they should apologize to you and to the people that they have misled.

    1. instead of becoming defensive, throwing fits and playing the victim? That was my understanding, too. But some people are SO goshdarn it special they should just be allowed to do whatever they want. Apparently.

  14. Based on something that happened to me once, I will hazard a guess that what is going on here is that previous conversations between both parties involved here have led Parties A –our illustrious Sad Puppy leaders to feel that Party B is treading on their toes.

    However, to the rest of us, used to years, now, of numerous Sad Puppies posting, Party B’s post just looks like a “Gear up, guys, here are my suggestions” post. (Doubly so to those of us who saw the disclaimer go up and knew it was directed at File 770 commenters (or people who claimed to be such, anyway.))

    This is a difficult matter. Sad Puppies has a leader of the Puppy Pack, whom Puppies follow and adore.

    However, Sad Puppies does not have any owner. (Larry let that possible cat out of the bag long ago.) That’s why there can be things such as Sad Puppies Book Club. Anyone who claims to be a Pup, talks like a Pup, and blogs like a Pup, is a Pup.

    The reason I say “based on something that happened to me” is because I have great sympathy for anyone reacting with toward someone one feels is going against instructions from a private conversation. I’ve been there!

    On the other hand, it was a bit shocking and demoralizing to come up on these posts as an outsider….because to us outsiders, Party B’s posts look exactly like posts that the rest of us have put up in the past. Heck, I thought of putting one up myself this week.

    I guess my point is: If I am reading all this right, this is not a gatekeeper argument, so much as a personal disagreement. Parties A feel that Party B has behaved discourteously–after being on notice, as they would say in the courtroom.

    So the come away, if I am grasping this correctly, is not that we Puppies should be cowed by some great gatekeepers, but that leading the Puppy Pack is a lot of work, and appreciation and respect is due our Puppy Leader.

    Am I right?

    1. However, to the rest of us, used to years, now, of numerous Sad Puppies posting, Party B’s post just looks like a “Gear up, guys, here are my suggestions” post.

      This is objectively incorrect, since there have been many people asking when Party B was brought into the process.

      Which caused Sarah to lose writing time.

      While she’s under a deadline.

      1. And considering I had announced that SP was NOT going to be pursuing the Hugos (though people were free to vote for the award, and others, from our reading suggestions) the idea that he was helping us is almost silly.
        And yes, he knew of my post, I sent it to him myself, PERSONALLY twice. and it was posted in groups he frequents.

    2. There is much more than what you are laying out here. Things that, if you would actually read what Sarah wrote and look at what the other party has been doing over the last 24 -48 hours, you would see. A simple “oops, I misspoke” could have saved a lot of this. But he chose not to do that. Instead, he puffed his chest out and doubled-down. You know Sarah. You know she doesn’t let loose like this in public without good reason. Perhaps instead of jumping to conclusions, you might think about that. The sole thing that post and what has followed has done is muddy the waters. This is what I warned about yesterday. Unfortunately, certain folks didn’t pay attention and continue to try to stir things up.

      As for the post looking like what so many others have put up, nope. Those others did not come out and say “this is the sad puppy recommendation list” which is basically what he did. He may not have meant it that way, but that was the import of the headline of the post and with what came after. My recommendation now, as it was yesterday, is for everyone to step back and breathe and remember to verify. Verify if someone says they are making a list for anything. Verify if they are making a list for a known entity to make sure they are either 1) going to get those recommendations to the official site and then hold them to it and/or 2) that they are authorized by whoever is running the group that year to do as they claim.

      Sad Puppies is a great movement. That is why so many of us feel so strongly about it. But, because it is, there is the potential for some to get overly excited or overly ambitious. That is, perhaps, what happened here. However, when it is then pointed out there is cause for misunderstanding, the response should not be to double down. It is to step back and reflect on what was said and done and see if that possibility exists.

      1. Sorry, I think my point was not clear. I guess I was too convoluted. I will try again:

        1) I saw the offending post when it first came out. (Obviously, it brought great joy to the Wright household…because it said really nice things about Iron Chamber of Memory–which is generally thought here to be the most important book either of us has written.)

        It didn’t occur to either John or I that the post was meant to be anything but a suggestions post. So when I heard it was considered as something more, I was confused.

        2) Once I read what Sarah said here, I realized that the reason she was upset was because of things that had happened behind the scenes, of which I had known nothing. I had immediate sympathy, because in a similar situation, I have been very upset myself.

        3) I realized that this is not an issue of Sad Puppy gatekeeping–i.e. a call for the rank and file fans to not post on Sad Puppy topics. Rather, this is a private argument between the particular people involved.

        That’s what I meant by my “takeaway”…that the rest of us were not being addressed.

        Sorry if my previous post was not clear.

        1. I would agree, up to a point. That point was crossed with “TOO STUPID” and now I cannot see it as a mere misspeaking or misunderstanding. Found a hole, proceeded to dig.

  15. It breaks my heart to see this. I had such high hopes for Sad Puppies. I was captured by Heinlein who led me to Asimov and thence to Bradbury, Clarke, Burroughs, Niven, Herbert, Anthony . . . until around 1992 when the word “Hugo” on the cover stopped meaning Quality and started meaning Grey Goo so I just . . . gave up. You know that Biblical admonition to live in the world, but not be of it? That’s me. My body goes to work and grandkids’ birthdays and church service, but my mind lives on Barsoom and Ringworld and in The Shire. I’d love to visit new worlds but the Hugos are no longer a reliable map to find them. Sad Puppies gave me hope the Hugos could be fixed so I’d get my map back; doesn’t look promising, what with the new voting they’ve adopted. But I’m not emotionally invested in Hugo – I’ll settle for any reliable map. Dragon worked great last year. SP could issue a stand-alone list that might work, if the picks were good. I don’t care who creates the list, I care that it’s a reliable list of great reads. Thank you for picking up the burden, Sarah. Bless you for giving me hope that I could once again find my way to new places of wonder.

    1. I’m not pursuing the Hugos because I can’t ask anyone to pay $40 or however much supporting membership is now when it will be used to insult them, make little plays about brave defenders keeping them out, and generally encourage big children to go into fits about how evil anyone outside their little enclave is.
      The list is different, and frankly there are tons of awards that could benefit from people who give a D*MN about the genre voting in them. I’m just not pointing at any of them or blackmailing anyone into giving those people money.
      My list will include mystery too, because I got the mystery thing from dad.
      And I’m with you. I’m always happy when I find a new read. They’ve gotten me through some horrible times: disease, death and far too many moves. They’re as vital to me as air. We’ll be sharing.

      1. Miss Marple, Archie Goodwin, Henry from the Black Widowers, Lord Darcy, Garrett PI . . . oh yes, please, please add mysteries to the list.

      2. Oooh. I am DEFINITELY looking forward to mystery recs. I’ve taken your last several recs for medieval mysteries, and walked around the house afterwards, bumping into things because I had my kindle glued to my face. 😀

    2. The big lesson of Sad Puppies 3 was that the self-assigned keepers of the award, will actively destroy it, rather than see it fall into the wrong hands. And unlike most SP supporters — who have lives, jobs, families, and ambition above and beyond the Hugo — most of the Hugo keepers truly do not have anything else on which to focus. The WSFS is their whole existence, and their whole existence is the WSFS. We (the Puppies) are FIJAGDH. We care about the field, but we are also grownups who devote effort to grownup duties and responsibilities. The CHORFish Trufans — as best exemplified by people like Steve Davidson — are FIAWOL. The field has consumed their souls. They worship the Hugo in the same way the telepathic mutants in Beneath The Planet Of The Apes worshiped their golden nuclear missile.

      1. They’re also suckers, being manipulated by unscrupulous people for money. A few more names spring forcibly to mind in that regard.

        Funny how those shenanigans never get a mention.

  16. What readers desperately need is a reliable way to cut through the chaff that exemplified by Sturgeon’s Law to get to the delicious bits of nutmeat we know must be out there. With indie we have a wealth of excellent material at very reasonable prices, but digging it out was, is, and will continue to be an issue.
    Word of mouth helps. I’ve found several new favorite authors by hanging out out here, at ATH, and Lord love a duck the FB pages.
    Once upon a time when we had a plethora of SF magazines their book lists and reviews were helpful. Most of those have died, and the few remaining have rolled hard left and embraced the literary PC crowd enthusiastically.
    As did our once loved Hugo Awards. And as we learned in 2015 the rot was by then so entrenched that an honest attempt to play by their rules and get some popular fiction back into the mix was met with a resounding “Hell no! We will burn the house down before allowing you to play in our domain!”
    The Hugos are a dead issue, they just haven’t realized it yet. When the attendance and participation numbers fall dramatically this year perhaps it will sink in, though I fully expect them to blame it on the foreign venue. Within a few more years Worldcon will be just another floating SF convention that hardly anyone pays any attention to. May they all rest in peace.
    The Dragon Awards show some promise, we shall have to wait and see.
    In the mean time, give me stories, books I can read and finish without further denting my walls.

    1. I second this. For me, awards mean nothing. I don’t care even a tiny bit which works win which awards; I just want interesting, entertaining works to read. If certain awards gain a track record of going to such works, I’ll look them over. But a site with reviews and recommendations such as Sarah is creating for SP5 is much>/em> more valuable to me (and I suspect, to others) than any awards would be.

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